I rarely have cause to be sniffing around the DTC, but after an invite to the media preview for this brewcentric newcomer in the Hyatt Regency, I took a glance at the goods & liked what I saw—not only a serious collection of local beers, both on tap & in bottle, but also a gastropubby menu that’s itself drenched in booze. I counted some 17 alcohol-infused dishes, from the chocolate malt-honey butter on the buttermilk pancakes for breakfast & the Avery White Rascal salad dressing to the chorizo-IPA consommé, beef-cheek pastrami sandwich slapped with Vodka 14 aioli, & hops-smoked pork shortrib with malted cranberry-bean puree & apple-mustard marmalade. And I liked it all no less when I saw it for myself; hotel director of food & beverage Ben Hardaway admitted to me that he’d had to make some noise to realize his vision in the face of corporate hesitation, but he did it. Good on him.
For this casual premiere, the team graciously put the spotlight on their purveyors above all—take this salad bar courtesy of Grower’s Organic, featuring some of the prettiest black radishes, baby carrots & teardrop tomatoes I do believe I’ve ever seen.
Or this spread of locally produced salumi & cheeses (think Continental Sausage, Avalanche, etc.), plus housemade accompaniments. That pan-fried pancetta in the foreground? I want some more RIGHT NOW. I want to wrap this apple I’m eating in it. I’m not even one of those bacon freaks who won’t give it a rest already, but the pancetta-apple scale definitely tips in favor of crispy pork product.
I didn’t manage to get around to the prime-rib carving station (but the Director, who adores the stuff—RIP Rodney’s—raved about it). Why not? Because I was too busy snarfing up the sandwiches: BLTs with house-cured bacon, green tomatoes, smoked cheddar, & cipollina aioli; grilled cheddar-&-swiss with roasted tomatoes, onions, arugula, & amber ale-infused Dijon mustard;
& the RIGHT ON whiskey barrel-smoked beef brisket with rutabaga sauerkraut & Hazel Dell mushroom ketchup on jalapeño-cheddar bread. One of those surprises that makes your pupils dilate—you think you’re biting into one standard thing that turns out to be a whole other rainbow thing. (It didn’t hurt that the delish cocktail I’d paired with it was whipped up by none other than that old smoothie Sean Kenyon, on hand to guest bartend.)
I was also loading up on wings & drumettes, for which the kitchen goes to town. The chicken itself is malt-roasted; then it’s coated in 3 different sauces—Wynkoop Black Lager buffalo, Left Hand Milk Stout BBQ, & spicy Dry Dock Apricot Blonde; finally, it’s served with housemade ranch & ridiculously chunky, good-quality blue-cheese dressing.
Dessert was a charm offensive of assorted Mason-jar pies, eclairs, & truffles.
And while the bartenders kept the flow of suds from Funkwerks, Elevation, Odell, Avery, Great Divide, Upslope & other beloved locals going, I was tickled to see their investment in a barrel-aged cocktail program—there must’ve been 8 or 10 of these on the counter for sampling (click to read the labels).
It goes without saying that you wouldn’t expect such passionate, community-conscious effort from a hotel oriented toward business travelers. Here’s hoping these guys get the crowd they aim to cater to.